An internationally touring exhibit. The Philadelphia Cathedral presentation of this exhibit was curated by Marie Elcin, art educator, fabric artist, and cathedral parishioner.
Initiated by Hanne Bang, an artist in Denmark, this an on going project, which is being added to all the time.
To date the piece has over 300 handkerchiefs - on each handkerchief people from across the world have embroidered the text; "In a war someone has to die" - in their own language. 54 countries are represented so far.
The handkerchiefs are shown as one big artwork – hanging beside each other - one united voice. One voice across nationalities, politics, religions, and culture - commenting on war. Not one particular war, but all wars.
In addition to the artwork, a list of the contributors nationalities is displayed. The first impression is of a feminine art piece of embroidery and handkerchiefs.
However as you come closer you are confronted with the text and a message in many different languages.
The impact of the work comes from the numerous individual expressions of the same theme and a message gathered into a single strong unified art work.
Refugees, Facebook and the "domino effect"
We have been working for the last two years to collect the handkerchiefs. They are constantly being sent in and the project continues to grow. Every single handkerchief has its own unique story to tell. Some of them are made by people in refugee camps and half-way houses, others have heard about the project through Facebook. Every one is a work of art in itself.
The background for the sentence, choice of handkerchiefs and embroidery
The quote: ¨In a war someone has to die", originates from a TV interview I saw with an African mercenary. When he was asked if he was afraid of dying, he soberly replied; ¨In a war someone has to die¨. The sentence is harsh and provocative, but none-the less an indisputable fact of war. Handkerchiefs are used to absorb blood, sweat and tears.
They are what we clutch while we arewaiting and we use them to wave goodbye. Handkerchiefs are material objects with their own folds, lace, colors and patterns.Handker-chiefs carry many human stories and much cultural history.
Embroidery is traditionally a female craft, a female occupation. It has a rhythm and repetition - which we also find in wars.
By connecting embroidery and handkerchiefs with the harsh text and the many stories, a strong piece appears which contrasts dynamically with the violent images of war we are constantly bombarded with in the media.
The following countries are represented;
Afghanistan, Africa/Swahili, Australia, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Brazil, Burma/Myanmar, Canada, China, Croatia, Denmark, Dubai, Estonia, England, Faroe Islands, France, Finland, Germany, Greece, Greenland, Iceland, India/Hindi, India/Urdu, Iran, Iraq, Italy, Japan, Kenya/Kikuya, Kenya/Meru, Macedonia, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nepal, Norway, Persian, Peru, Poland, Romania, Portugal, Russia, Serbia, Slovenia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, USA, Vietnam
For more information go to www.inawar.hannebang.com